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June 23, 2020
Support update from Cigna

The COVID-19 pandemic brings uncertainty for all, particularly for people who have lost benefits and now face financial hardship. Cigna has deployed many helpful programs during the pandemic. We’re working hard to support our provider partners, clients and the community.

  • As part of our commitment to our customers, Cigna waived all customer cost-sharing and co-payments for all testing and treatment for COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. Cigna customers did not pay out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 related care delivered by an in-network provider anywhere – whether at an office, an urgent care center, emergency room or through virtual care.
  • Cigna deployed hundreds of Cigna doctors and nurse practitioners to support the medical community, and provided customers with a free, interactive COVID-19 risk assessment tool.
  • Recognizing that special circumstances and/or emergency situations may require out-of-network care, we expanded our COVID-19 policy to include out-of-network providers and agreed to reimburse them at Cigna's in-network rates or Medicare rates, as applicable.
    • Cigna’s COVID-19 Customer Protection Program (CPP) safeguards our customers from receiving surprise bills for COVID-19 care, which could jeopardize a family’s financial security. The first program of its kind, the CPP is designed to:
      • Ensure out-of-network health care providers who are caring for Cigna customers requiring care related to COVID-19 are reimbursed at Cigna's in-network rates or Medicare rates, as applicable.
      • Work on behalf of patients to support and resolve any surprise billing issues for COVID-19 care by out-of-network providers.
      • Report excessive and/or egregious billing practices to state and federal regulatory officials and associations and to otherwise exercise full legal options, including appropriate litigation actions.
      • Increase awareness and advocate for broader consumer protections against surprise billing for COVID-19 and beyond.
  • New York Life Foundation and the Cigna Foundation jointly launched the Brave of Heart Fund at E4E Relief, an independent public charity, to provide charitable grants to financially support the families of health care workers who lose their lives in the fight against COVID-19. Through The Brave of Heart Fund, the family of eligible health care workers will be eligible to receive up to $75,000 to help with housing, food, transportation, education, and other living expenses as they begin to move forward. To learn more, visit: https://www.braveofheartfund.com/
  • Express Scripts®, a health services division of Cigna, is launching a temporary new savings program to help ensure that Americans can continue to stay adherent to their prescription medications during the COVID-19 pandemic. Administered by InsideRx ®, the company’s subsidiary that specializes in prescription drug discount programs, Express Scripts Parachute Rx, offers deep discounts on thousands of widely used prescription medications.
  • Cigna has committed over $100,000 to support COVID relief in the Houston area through the following contributions:
    • Cigna is a Major Sponsor with the City of Houston’s “Mask Up Campaign” to provide PPE to seniors and the needy throughout the city.
    • Cigna has made charitable contributions to the Houston food bank in support of their COVID feeding program.
    • Cigna has made a charitable contribution to the Houston Boys and Girls Club in support of their COVID feeding program.
    • Cigna has sponsored the Kelsey foundation in support of their deployment of PPE to Local First Responders.
    • Cigna has made a charitable contribution to “Change Happens!” in support of their COVID feeding and hygiene programs.
    • Cigna has made a charitable contribution to Star of Hope in support of their COVID program.
65th birthday brings key decisions regarding health care.

Medicare programs can be complicated. Here are tips your clients can share with their employees, who are 65, or will soon be 65.

What you should know about Medicare.

You might think milestone birthdays stop when you turn 50, but that’s not true. Your 65th birthday is an important milestone, too. That’s when you become eligible for the federal Medicare health insurance program. 

“Turning 65 is an opportunity for Americans to consider Medicare – an affordable health care option that offers hospital coverage and physician visits for those who qualify,” said Aparna Abburi, president of Cigna’s Medicare Advantage business. “Medicare programs can be complicated. Individuals should take inventory of where they are -- from health care, work and financial perspectives -- and also where they are headed, including personal preferences and goals.” 

Don’t wait – timing is important.

Medicare has a seven-month window around your 65th birthday called the Initial Enrollment Period. This period begins three months before your 65th birthday and extends three months past your birthday month. Enrolling outside this window could result in higher premiums on Medicare add-ons, such as Medicare Part B, for the rest of your life due to late enrollment. 

For those who plan to keep working, your path forward depends on the size of your company. If you work for a company with fewer than 20 employees, you generally must sign up for Medicare at age 65. If you work for a larger company, you can keep your company’s plan and enroll in Medicare without penalty later – usually when you retire – or you can enroll in Medicare immediately. However, if you switch to Medicare, your spouse could lose their coverage if they are currently on your company’s insurance. 

If you’ve decided to retire and you’ve already filed for Social Security, the process is much easier. You’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, which cover hospital stays and visits to the doctor, when you turn 65. This is sometimes called Original Medicare. Original Medicare, however, doesn’t include coverage of prescription drugs. 

Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything.

Original Medicare covers hospital and physician expenses, but there are cost sharing requirements and limits on what is covered. You’ll need to think about how you want to cover things like dental, vision, hearing and pharmacy. You can buy plans to supplement what Medicare covers, or you can buy a Medicare Advantage plan (also known as Part C) that covers everything that Medicare covers and provides additional benefits, including, in many cases, prescription drugs (also known as Part D). 

You’ve got options – and lots of them.

With Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Prescription Drug Plans, there are a lot of choices to make when it comes to what coverage will be best for you. Understanding your budget, health needs, doctor preferences and lifestyle will be important to making the best choice for your particular needs. 

There are plenty of ways to get help.

For more information, visit the Medicare Plan Finder website, call 1-800-MEDICARE, or find local assistance through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program. We encourage you to speak with your benefits administrator who can help you better understand your various options. What’s more, it’s always a good idea to talk with friends and family members who have been through the process. 

Once you’ve chosen your plan, it’s time to use it.

Know the benefits that are available to you. Find out about which wellness checks and preventive screenings are needed for your age and health status, and be sure to get them. Some Medicare Advantage plans have extras, such as gym memberships. These extras can help you can actively engage in your own health and well-being.

65the birthday brings key decisions regarding health care.

Cigna and Memorial Hermann reach agreement to keep quality care affordable.

Cigna and Memorial Hermann Health System have reached a multi-year agreement that ensures Cigna customers will have continued access to Memorial Hermann’s hospitals, facilities and providers for quality care at predictable, affordable rates.

The new agreement is structured for long-term stability and improvement of Houston’s health, while further strengthening Cigna and Memorial Hermann’s network relationship.

“We appreciate Memorial Hermann’s commitment to a lasting, value-based relationship that will provide access to quality care for Cigna's customers. I look forward to working with the Memorial Hermann team to deepen this relationship in the years ahead,” said Jim Hickey, President of Cigna's South Texas market.

“Our unequivocal and enduring commitment is to the needs and best interests of the people who live here—to be an advocate for Houston’s long-term health. This new agreement with Cigna is a reflection of that commitment,” said Dr. David L. Callender, President & CEO, Memorial Hermann Health System. “We’re pleased to work together on behalf of the people we jointly serve and we are grateful to our patients and families for their patience during these uncertain times.”

The announcement comes at an important moment for greater Houston as communities continue to face a variety of challenges due to COVID-19

“We know this is a difficult time for everyone and we are happy we were able to resolve this,” Hickey said. “I’d like to extend thanks to our clients and customers for their patience during these negotiations. We recognize the uncertainty these discussions created and we’re glad we were able to reach an affordable solution without interrupting access to quality care at Memorial Hermann.”

Where We Are and Whom to Contact

Smaller Business
51-499 employees*

For Louisiana Select Segment sales information, please contact our Houston office:

2800 North Loop West, Suite 700
Houston, TX 77056
Telephone: 713.576.4300

Medical

Michael Rankin
713.576.4564
Michael.Rankin@Cigna.com

Dental
LeAnn Ewing
Sales Advisor
713.576.4350
Leann.Ewing@Cigna.com
CGI

David Budzinski
Regional Market Manager
713.576.4431
David.Budzinski@Cigna.com

Medium Business
500 - 4,999 employees**

For Louisiana Regional Segment sales information, please contact our Houston office:

2800 North Loop West, Suite 700
Houston, TX 77056
Telephone: 713.576.4300

Medical

Sasha Yamaguchi
Regional Vice President, West Region and Texas Markets
818.268.3053
Sasha.Yamaguchi@Cigna.com

Dental
Debra Carter
Sales Advisor
713.576.4357
Debra.Carter@Cigna.com
CGI

David Budzinski
Regional Market Manager
713.576.4431
David.Budzinski@Cigna.com

Large Employers
5,000 or more employees

For Louisiana National Segment sales information, please contact our Houston office:

2800 North Loop West, Suite 700
Houston, TX 77056
Telephone: 713.576.4300

Medical

Craig Martin
Vice President
972.632.0827
Craig.Martin@Cigna.com

Dental
CGI

David Budzinski
Regional Market Manager
713.576.4431
David.Budzinski@Cigna.com

Global Health Benefits

Danielle Turner
713.576.4467
Danielle.Turner@Cigna.com

Individual Private Medical Insurance

Emily Threet
Sales Representative
972.863.5166
Emily.Threet@Cigna.com

*In most states, Cigna offers group insurance coverage to employers with 51 or more full-time employees, as well as administrative services for self-funded plan with as few as 25 full-time employees. For more information about your state, contact your Cigna sales representative.

** Medium Business employers have 501 - 4,999 employees or may have more than 5,000 employees and are located in a single state.

Smaller Business
51-499 employees*

2800 North Loop West, Suite 700
Houston, TX 77056
Telephone: 713.576.4300

Medical

Michael Rankin
713.576.4564
Michael.Rankin@Cigna.com

Dental
LeAnn Ewing
Sales Advisor
713.576.4350
Leann.Ewing@Cigna.com
CGI

David Budzinski
Regional Market Manager
713.576.4431
David.Budzinski@Cigna.com

Medium Business
500 - 4,999 employees**

2800 North Loop West, Suite 700
Houston, TX 77056
Telephone: 713.576.4300

Medical

Kyle Green
Sales Manager Regional Segment
713.576.4343
Kyle.Green@Cigna.com

Dental
Debra Carter
Sales Advisor
713.576.4357
Debra.Carter@Cigna.com
CGI

David Budzinski
Regional Market Manager
713.576.4431
David.Budzinski@Cigna.com

Large Employers
5,000 or more employees

2800 North Loop West, Suite 700
Houston, TX 77056
Telephone: 713.576.4300

Medical

Craig Martin
Vice President
972.632.0827
Craig.Martin@Cigna.com

Dental
CGI

David Budzinski
Regional Market Manager
713.576.4431
David.Budzinski@Cigna.com

Global Health Benefits

Danielle Turner
713.576.4467
Danielle.Turner@Cigna.com

Individual Private Medical Insurance

Emily Threet
Sales Representative
972.863.5166
Emily.Threet@Cigna.com

*In most states, Cigna offers group insurance coverage to employers with 51 or more full-time employees, as well as administrative services for self-funded plan with as few as 25 full-time employees. For more information about your state, contact your Cigna sales representative.

** Medium Business employers have 501 - 4,999 employees or may have more than 5,000 employees and are located in a single state.